Healthy & fresh spread for spring season

When you are born in a culture where bread is the norm; when you live in a country where the foundations of every lunch are based on bread, and when you have small kids in school that have to bring along their lunchbox with bread slices… When you decide to live in a healthier way, to cut down on bread or gluten, to lower sugar intakes, to become vegetarian and to minimize dairy products as much as possible… You arrive at a point where you wonder what the hell you’ll eat for lunch or put on your kids’ bread…

Picture this: in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, but also in the United States and many other Western countries, the norm is to have a sandwich for lunch. In Belgium we have bakers at every corner of the street. Luckily for us, it is a delicious bread culture: our bakers bake fresh croissants every night, we have chocolate rolls, white bread, grey bread, bread filled with grains, rye bread, corn bread, vitality bread, omega 3 bread, gluten-free bread, waldkorn bread, etc. The list is endless.

I remember my youth vividly, carrying my backpack around with a lunchbox in it and fruit and cookies. My lunchbox would alternate between bread slices with ham, with ham & cheese, just cheese, salami, ham sausage, marmelade, or Nutella. And always good butter, of course. And occasionally, I would have an omelette between my sandwiches.

I also remember eating them with long teeth. And it took a while for my body to get accustomed to all that bread with greasy, unhealthy stuff on it. But then what happens: you grow accustomed to this cultural habit and all of a sudden, you can’t imagine your life without bread. Even though you intuitively know you should avoid it.

Our whole culture is impregnated by it. In the majority of our schools, this is still the custom: to send your kids to school with their breadbox (that’s how it’s called in Dutch and French).

But a few years ago, we became vegetarian. So this meant skipping the ham, salami, and all other sandwich meat. My husband and I switched easily to crackers with humus, soup, salads, raw vegetables and a healthy dip. But for the kids, the switch was a lot harder! Especially our youngest son who just loved ham and chicken!

Their healthy breadboxes returned home with only 1/4 eaten or nibbled along with their unsatisfied faces, craving for an afternoon snack. So as a compromise, they got cheese sandwiches. But then came with that the skin and liver issues (they don’t tolerate dairy very well). So I had to find alternatives to cheese as well. And though they wouldn’t have mind to get Nutella or marmelade on their bread, I refused to stuff them full of refined sugars. Moreover we decided not to buy Nutella anymore because of the palm oil used in it. We have several other brands in Belgium that make chocolate & hazelnut paste without palm oil, so to boycot Nutella, while still having hazelnut paste was easy! Besides, I make a lot myself. Then I’m absolutely sure of what’s in it.

So I started experimenting with all kinds of home-made spreads, and while my husband and I enjoyed all of them, it was a lot trickier to convince the kids. Meanwhile a lot of meat substitutes came on the market, so now and then they could get fake ham. Though it puts a smile on their face it is not healthy either! It contains lots of wheat, soy, and artificial aromas. Bummer!

Here’s what was most successful so far:

My spinach guacamole! 

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Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • A large handful of spinach
  • One avocado (or 2 if you want it to be extra creamy)
  • Spices: salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic (powder)
  • Fresh coriander or cilantro (2 to 3 table spoons)
  • Plant-based oil (sunflower oil or olive oil)

This is my basic and quick recipe. If you want even more flavour, you can vary by adding extra or other spices, by adding plant-based creamcheese or Parmesan, or other vegetables.

How to make it?

Just blend all the ingredients together and you’re done 🙂 It’s that easy!

Some other success recipes for sandwich spreads: 

The principle is always the same: just blend all the ingredients together and you’re ready to go.

Walnut hummus:

  • 1 can or jar of chickpeas
  • 2 to 3 tbs of Olive oil
  • One small clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • a handful of walnuts
  • 2 tbs of shredded Parmesan of Grana Padano (leave out if you want vegan version)
  • some cilantro leaves
  • 2 ts of turmeric
  • some water if mixture is too thick

 

Spicy hummus:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 to 3 tbs of Olive oil
  • One small clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs of Sriracha or other chili paste
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 ts of turmeric
  • some water if mixture is too thick

 

As you can see, the base for a hummus is always the same: chickpeas and olive oil and the spices. Often hummus is also made by adding Tahini (sesame paste) to the Chickpeas. It will give your hummus extra smooth texture and flavour. But you can also do without. Once you’ve covered the basics, you can have some fun and experiment with all sorts of ingredients.

How do you know when you’ve found the ideal recipe? When the bowl is emptied within one meal or one day 😉

Whenever there’s hummus or spread leftovers and I notice that I’m the only one eating from it (I hate for things to go to waste!), than that’s my cue to know that the recipe was less of a success. It will then be categorised as a recipe to do occasionally but definitely not weekly.

Let me know what you found of the recipes.

Have a great sandwich moment !

Géraldine

2 thoughts on “Healthy & fresh spread for spring season

  1. Bonjour Géraldine,

    Merci pour ce partage de bonnes recettes. Comment vas-tu ? Et tes proches ? Et tous tes animaux ? Le confinement n’est pas trop pénible ? Je t’envoie plein de gros bisous et attends avec impatience de reprendre le yoga… A très bientôt Eveline

    Le lun. 4 mai 2020 à 17:13, Geraldine Chapelle Coaching Blog a écrit :

    > geraldinechapelle posted: “When you are born in a culture where bread is > the norm; when you live in a country where the foundations of every lunch > are based on bread, and when you have small kids in school that have to > bring along their lunchbox with bread slices… When you decide” >

    Like

  2. Bonjour Eveline,

    Je vais très bien, mes proches aussi, les animaux aussi, merci. Et toi, ça va ?
    Je compte relancer le cours de yoga dans 2 semaines (le 20 mei) pour ceux qui veulent, en limitant le nombre de places pour garder nos distances. J’ai aussi bien avancée pour le cours de communication intuitive avec les animaux en ligne ! J’espère te revoir bientôt, bises, Géraldine

    Like

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